Famous and quite common applications in Brazil have already been banned or have stopped working in some countries due to the determinations of their respective governments. Uber, for example, ceased to function throughout Colombia for violating local competition rules with ordinary taxis, and resumed operations in the country on the 21st. Wikipedia, for its part, was banned from being accessed in Turkey in 2017 because it would have refused to delete content that, according to local authorities, made a case for terrorism. The virtual encyclopedia resumed operation in the country only in January this year.
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In the United States, circumstances involve TikTok. Although the app is released to the general public in the country, several military agencies have banned their employees from using the social network on official government devices, such as the Army, Navy and Marines, in order to ensure the security of confidential information, in a controversy that involves the privacy of users’ data. Check below five times when mobile applications were banned from some countries in the world and their different motivations.
List recalls occasions when countries banned famous apps – Photo: Nicolly Vimercate / dnetc
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1. TikTok in the United States
Several US military agencies have banned the use of the Chinese social network TikTok among their employees. The most recent body to make the decision was the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which issued a statement on the 23rd, advising members to stop using the app after the US Senate raised concerns about possible security issues. national.
TikTok has been the target of investigations in recent months over suspicions of censorship by the app, which has been accused of inhibiting political videos and sending personal data of Americans to China. In December, the Pentagon issued a statement advising the military to uninstall the app, due to «security risks associated with its use».
American authorities advise military personnel not to use TikTok – Photo: Ana Letícia Loubak / dnetc
In addition to the TSA, the Navy, the Army, the Air Force, the Coast Guard, the Marine Corps and the Department of Homeland Security have also banned their employees from using the app on official devices and when in service. Although the agencies do not prohibit members from accessing the app on personal cell phones, they recommend caution in the use and dissemination of images and data through the platform.
Vimeo was blocked in Indonesia – Photo: Disclosure / Vimeo
The Indonesian government banned the country’s Vimeo video platform in 2014, following the Anti-Pornography Act. According to the country’s Ministry of Information and Communications, “negative or pornographic elements” were discovered in videos on the platform. Created in 2008, the law prohibits the production, sale and distribution of material with nudity or explicit sexual content in the territory. This allows the government to block any page that contains this content, even if it is not dedicated exclusively to pornography.
The decision led to protests over freedom of expression and abuse of power in the country. In addition to Vimeo, Reddit and Imgur were also banned from the country. To date, the video player has not been released there, and some users bypass the situation by accessing the platform through VPNs.
Uber was momentarily banned in Colombia – Photo: Disclosure / Uber
In early February this year, Uber stopped working in Colombia. The transportation app was banned from the country after a court found the company to have violated competition rules, accepting the claim that the service was driving customers away from ordinary taxis and offering unlicensed public transport. The app’s operation in Colombian territory involved 88,000 drivers and 2 million passengers.
The decision, however, lasted just over three weeks. On the 21st, Uber found a loophole to operate legally in the country and relaunched its business model, allowing passengers to rent a vehicle with the driver, in a format of agreement between the two parties, which is permitted by law Colombian. In addition to Colombia, Uber has already been banned for the same reason in Italy, in much of Asia and in some regions of Europe and the Middle East.
4. Video calling (VoIP) apps in the Middle East and Africa
WhatsApp, Telegram and other services have been banned from Middle Eastern countries – Photo: dnetc / Anna Kellen Bull
Communication services like WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook Messenger, FaceTime, Telegram, Line and Snapchat have been blocked for a long time in countries like Qatar, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Algeria. Although each country had its own legislation, the ban was carried out primarily because states considered it illegal to provide telecommunications services free of charge, without a license issued by their governments.
The decisions sparked discussions about protectionism laws and financial interests, as users would feel compelled to use each country’s telecommunications services, paying their fees. The existence of cryptography, which makes it difficult to monitor the content of these calls, would also be a problem for more conservative authorities.
Wikipedia has been banned in Turkey for more than two years – Photo: Disclosure / Wikimedia
In 2017, access to Wikipedia was blocked in Turkey. According to Turkish authorities, the Wimikedia Foundation, responsible for the site, would have refused to delete articles that said Turkey was supporting terrorist groups linked to the Syrian War. When attempting to open a page during the suspension, users were faced with a message that the browser could not securely connect to the server. To circumvent the block, many of them used VPNs.
The ban lasted two and a half years, and Wikipedia only returned to work in the country in January this year, after a judicial decision by the Turkish Constitutional Court.
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